Give MIchael Behe credit. He has somehow managed to build a career as a “scientific” writer by taking ridiculously simple and trivial ideas, giving them a big fancy name, and selling it to the public as some major breakthrough.
First was “irreducible complexity”, which can be summarized as “If you break or remove some of the parts of a mechanical system, often it stops working.” Human beings have probably known this since pre-history. But thru savvy marketing, Behe managed to sell a lot of books to people who were convinced he had found scientific evidence for God.
Next came the “Edge of Evolution.” Here, he expounded on the radical (in his mind) idea that certain traits require so many mutations that they are highly unlikely to ever arise thru evolutionary mechanisms. To which one would be tempted to respond “Thank you for pointing that out to us, Captain Obvious. Here I was, wondering why no pigeons had yet evolved to have a functioning nuclear reactor powering their wings.” Yet, Behe made the rather audacious claim that by “too many mutations” he meant a number that could be as low as four. To which the response would then be: “Huh? Show me the math.” Which Behe tried to do, but rather ineptly, making errors that would have caused him to flunk a high school algebra exam. In the end this was another book that went nowhere.
So now he is back with another book and this time the marketing catchphrase is the "“First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”. What does this mean? A simple example will suffice to illustrate: When the first land animals emerged from fish-like ancestors, one of the changes that allowed this was that their fins became adapted to ambulating on land. But note what has happened! These rudimentary limbs are now much less-well adapted to swimming. A leg is nothing but a broken fin, IOW. And later, when some of the descendants of these early tetrapods developed the ability to fly, they could only do so by “breaking” their forelegs so that they now became wings, almost useless for walking, running, climbing or holding things.
That is to say rarely, if ever, do new adaptations evolve without the loss or diminution of some function that existed previously.
There are many other examples I could choose to cite, but hopefully that is sufficient to illustrate the point: Behe’s ““First Rule of Adaptive Evolution” is nothing more than a statement of a fact that has been obvious about evolution since the theory was first proposed, and which is evident even at the level of gross anatomy, never mind at the molecular level. As such, it presents no threat whatsoever to the theory of evolution, and does not even take the first step towards a demonstrable hypothesis of “intelligent design.”